Texas State Aquarium So far the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi has been the best aquarium we have visited. The museum is a little pricey ($35.95 with a $2 discount on the usual eligibilities) but it is a nonprofit organization and well worth the price. The aquarium is dedicated to promoting environmental conservation and rehabilitation of the wildlife of the Gulf of Mexico. It is the largest aquarium in Texas and one of the largest aquariums in the United States. The aquarium was originally conceived by a coalition led by the Junior League of Corpus Christi and named the Gulf Coast Zoological and Botanical Society, the organization changed its name to the Corpus Christi Aquarium Association in 1978, and then to Texas State Aquarium Association in 1986 after the Texas State Legislature designated it the "Official Aquarium of Texas", although it would receive no state dollars. After more than 20 years of fundraising, planning, and building, the Texas State Aquarium opened its first exhibit to the public on July 6, 1990. In 1993, the aquarium became a federally permitted animal rehabilitation facility, and in 1995, it was accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. On May 13, 2017, the Texas State Aquarium opened Caribbean Journey, an expansion which doubled the size of the Aquarium and added new exhibits including a 400,000-gallon shark exhibit and a jungle aviary as well as a 4D theater. What makes a visit to the Texas State Aquarium special is that all the exhibits give you an up close and personal feel with the animals in the display. This place has more ‘touch’ exhibits than I have seen anywhere and they are closely monitored by knowledgeable staff. Current exhibits at the aquarium include: Caribbean Jungle which features flamingos, free-flying birds, a two-toed sloth, and other species in a naturally-lit jungle. Guests walk along a simulated jungle pathway and can look into the aquatic exhibits below. While this is not a ‘touch’ exhibit you are very close to the animals H-E-B Caribbean Sea is a 400,000-gallon aquatic exhibit contains sandbar sharks, stingrays, and other species. Guests can view the exhibit from the longest acrylic display window in North America or walk through an acrylic tunnel giving you the feel of being in the water with these magnificent creatures. Coral Reef replicates the features of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef off the coast of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve; the Coral Reef exhibit gives an immersive look at these incredible ecosystems and the colorful fish that call them home. This exhibit includes angelfish, goatfish, butterflyfish, and parrotfish. This immersive exhibit reveals a unique and often unseen aquatic habitat, the deep underwater caverns that can descend hundreds of feet below sea level. Like many of the exhibits Coral Reef has an acrylic "bubble" that you can go under and stick your head in to give you a unique perspective. The 400,000-US-gallon Dolphin Bay saltwater exhibit houses four Atlantic bottlenose dolphins: Liko, Schooner, Shadow and Kai. The Atlantic dolphins put on an educational dolphin presentation, two to three times per day. After the show you can speak with trainers about how they interact with their dolphins as well as learn more about how to conserve and protect the world's oceans. All of the raptors featured in the Eagle Pass exhibit were rehabilitated at the Texas State Aquarium and cannot be released back into the wild. The exhibit includes a bald eagle named Grace. Tentacles is an 800-gallon exhibit contains a variety of jellyfish and sea nettle, most of which can be found in the Gulf of Mexico. The Flower Gardens exhibit replicates a coral reef, this 40,000-gallon exhibit features Atlantic tarpon, green moray eels, and cownose stingrays. Hawn Wild Flight Theater features a variety of trained birds including parrots, hawks, owls, and falcons. The Hawn Wild Flight Theater honors the Hawn family for their long-standing commitment to the aquarium's mission of wildlife education and conservation in South Texas. The theater was opened April 24, 2007. The Islands of Steel exhibit recreates the habitat formed around an oil platform. The 125,000-gallon exhibit includes nurse sharks, amberjack, Atlantic tarpon, grouper, a barracuda, a sand tiger shark, and many other species that could be found in a naturally occurring habitat in the Gulf of Mexico. At the Living Shores exhibit you can interact with hermit crabs, lightning whelks, and pencil urchins that reside in several touch pools at this exhibit. Otter Creek has Two North American river otters that reside at the aquarium and can be viewed interacting with one another and their trainers throughout the day. Saving Sharks is an interactive, informative exhibition designed to entertain and inform shark fans. At Stingray Lagoon you can touch Atlantic and cownose stingrays. This is the aquarium's largest outdoor touch pool. At Tortuga Cay you can view the rehabilitated and unreleasable sea turtles above and below the water. Tortugay Cay includes three green sea turtles (Squirt, Pickles, and Crush), one kemp's ridley sea turtle (Daisy), one hawksbill sea turtle (Hemingway), and a loggerhead sea turtle (Tiki). As you can see there are many exhibits and with so much interactivity (viewing bubbles, touch tanks, and shows) you should plan a whole day at the aquarium. Of course for me – I’m hanging out watching seahorses! For some reason they fascinate me!